How to Make a HandPan MIDI Controller

With the idea of an electronic-Handpan being hugely popular at time of posting, with both the Oval. and the more recently announced, Lumen - having more than reached their funding targets for their individual crowd-funding campaigns - the following video from Al Martino, is one that we suspect our readers might be very interested in seeing.  

And with the Oval having a retail price of around 600 Euro, and the Lumen expected to be priced at around $800, if you can, with a little elbow-grease, knock up something that is (arguably) more-or-less the same, for the price of little more than some foam rubber, and $20 worth of piezoelectric triggers, that is something that will no doubt make for a tempting alternative…

How to Make a HandPan MIDI Controller

Al Martino himself is a musician, and composer from Capri island, Italy.  And he kindly offers his design for all to make use of free-of-charge.  As has been the discussion with both the Oval, and the Lumen, how similar an experience this device will offer, in comparison to playing a true steel made Handpan. is open to debate.  Though if you’re not put off by the idea of a little D.I.Y., Al Martino’s open-source design certainly seems to be an economical way of finding out for yourself, without having to drop too much cash.

In addition to your self-made electronic Handpan, you’ll need some Hang / Handpan samples.  Al Martino makes mention of having put together a virtual Handpan sample library, that can be downloaded for free - though at time of posting we’re unable to find that, so, perhaps do a search over at his website: HERE Or reach out over at YouTube: HERE.  Alternatively, there are usually Handpan sample libraries for sale over at eBay: HERE.  And Soniccouture offer a “Pan drums” library for sale: HERE.

And you can hear more of Al Martino's "Trigalpan" below...

Could a HandPan be Built from Vibranium?

With the cinematic release of Marvel’s latest superhero offering, Captain America: Civil War, just days away now (at time of posting), that promises an epic face-off between fellow Avengers, and former allies, Captain America, and Iron Man.  It feels like the perfect time to geek-out a little, and toy with a question that we’ve been secretly fantasising over - ever since we stumbled across the following video from Pantheon Steel, back in 2012: 

Could a Handpan be built from Vibranium?  

And perhaps it was just the fact that Kyle Cox of Pantheon Steel is clearly wearing a "Cap" t-shirt, that put the idea in our head, but also, there is something particularly solid, strong, and shield-like, aesthetically speaking, about the Halo instruments of Pantheon...


“Vibranium”, is the legendary, though unfortunately fictional metal, from the Marvel Universe, as found in the iconic star-spangled shield, wielded by Captain America.  A rare metallic substance of extraterrestrial-origin, Vibranium, has the capacity to absorb energy, and store it within the bonds between the molecules that make up the substance.  And you would think that with the Handpan being generally classed as being an “Idiophone”, any musical instrument that creates sound primarily by the instrument as a whole vibrating - that a metal called Vibranium, would make the ideal raw material.

Unfortunately though, we hit a hurdle early, when we learned that pure Vibranium has the ability to absorb sound-waves, in addition to other vibrations.  And that pure Vibranium, is always surrounded by

its own enveloping pocket; of perfect silence. Obviously rendering it completely useless, as a material from which to build musical instruments.

Vibranium / Steel Alloy

While the comic-book geeks of the internet can’t seem to agree on whether Captain America’s shield is constructed from either a Vibranium/Iron alloy, or a Vibranium/steel alloy - they do agree. that the Captain’s iconic shield, is not made from “pure” Vibranium.  And the evidence seems to suggest, that while pure Vibranium might make for a terrible Handpan canvas, the unique alloy from which CA’s shield is constructed, could hold considerably more potential. As can be seen in the following clip from the first Avengers movie...

Even if the mighty Thor, armed with the legendary-hammer, Mjolnir, looks like even he might struggle to be able to tune it.


The final possibility for creating "Super-Handpan", within the Marvel universe, perhaps lies in an artificial man-made variant of Vibranium, known as “Reverbium”.   Reverbium is said to have been created imperfectly - and while Vibranium absorbs vibrations, and energy, Reverbium, does the opposite, “blowing everything away”.  Which could make for some powerful, if highly volatile Handpan, for our super-avenging friends to chill-out with, in between battling alien invasions, advanced AI, each other, and whatever comes next...

Taking Back the Swastika - With CosmosphereDrums

While browsing Etsy yesterday, we had to do a double-take, when we stumbled across the steel tongue drum pictured right.  Adorned boldly with a large swastika, as it is.

The majority of us from the Western-hemisphere at least, most likely associate the well-known symbol with Hitler’s Nazi Party, and the wealth of negative connotations that go hand-in-hand with that particular pairing.  However, the swastika, prior to its misuse by the Nazis in the Second World War, was held as a universal symbol of strength, luck, and other decidedly un-fascist like attitudes, by a variety of peoples, and cultures, the world over. And in recent years, there has been something of a growing movement, to reclaim the swastika.

The swastika has held a place of great importance in India and Asia for thousands of years, and is widely used by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.  The swastika can be seen everywhere across the Indian sub-continent - you’ll find it: sculpted into temples, adorning homes, decorating taxis, and buses, and shops, and etched into the dashboards of the many motor-rickshaws - making it one of the most prevalent symbols that one will see in India.  Though the swastika has also found widespread use outside of India’s shores too.  And is known to have been used in ancient Greek architectural designs, on pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon and Druidic artefacts, on Native American Indian artefacts including those of the Navajo and Hopi, on the badges of Boy Scouts' in Britain from 1911 to 1922, and on the dust-covers of books by Rudyard Kipling and other authors - to name but a few...

Cosmosphere are a range of handmade steel tongue drum made in Russia, by maker, Sergey Glushenkov.  And if you'd like to help in the battle to reclaim the swastika, with the aid of singing-steel - you can find Sergey's CosmosphereDrums for sale at Etsy: HERE

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